Alternative Medicine and Pulmonary Fibrosis

Some alternative medical techniques may help you cope with pulmonary fibrosis

man being examined with stethescope
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Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition marked by thickening and scarring of tissue deep in your lungs. It also may result in inflammation and scarring in your air sacs and their supporting structures.

If the scarring progresses, it may lead to breathing difficulties and/or impair your lungs' ability to deliver oxygen to your bloodstream. This can keep your internal organs from getting the oxygen they need to function properly.

Alternative Medicine to Manage Pulmonary Fibrosis

Very few scientific studies have explored the use of alternative medicine in treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. However, the following natural remedies and alternative therapies may be useful for individuals coping with pulmonary fibrosis:

1) Medicinal Mushrooms

In a 2007 study, scientists discovered that cordyceps sinensis (a medicinal mushroom) helped alleviate pulmonary fibrosis in a group of mice.

It's important to note that these findings are preliminary. If you're interested in using medicinal mushrooms in the management of pulmonary fibrosis, it's critical to consult your physician rather than attempting to self-treat your condition.

2) Mind-Body Stress Relief

For help in dealing with the stress of pulmonary fibrosis, consider taking up a calming mind-body practice such as guided imagery or meditation.

3) Natural Remedies to Quit Smoking

Smoking cessation is key to coping with any lung disease. If you smoke, look to alternative therapies like acupuncture and hypnosis for help in quitting.

Risk Factors

In many cases, doctors are unable to determine the cause of pulmonary fibrosis. However, certain factors are thought to increase your risk of the disease. These factors include:

Symptoms

Pulmonary fibrosis symptoms tend to develop over time and progressively worsen. They may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • a dry, hacking cough that doesn't subside over time
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • gradual, unintended weight loss
  • fatigue
  • aching muscles and joints
  • widening and rounding of the tips of the fingers and/or toes

Treatment

Although there's no way to reverse scarring that has already occurred, certain treatments (including medication, pulmonary rehabilitation, and surgery) may help prevent further damage, ease symptoms, and improve quality of life for people with pulmonary fibrosis.

Since pulmonary fibrosis may lead to serious and even life-threatening complications (such as low blood-oxygen levels, pulmonary hypertension, and respiratory failure), it's crucial to consult your physician if you experience symptoms of the disease.

A Word From Verywell

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend alternative medicine for pulmonary fibrosis. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using alternative medicine for pulmonary fibrosis (or any other health purpose), make sure to consult your physician first.

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  • Wang SJ, Bai W, Wang CL, Dai Z. "Effects of cordyceps sinensi on bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in mice." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 32(24):2623-7.